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Comment Re:rate limit incoming connections based on IP (Score 1) 298

Instead of adding the rules manually, I've been using fail2ban for a few years now, and haven't had any problems. Well, except when I opened a shell to let my father upload pictures to my VPS, and he kept forgetting his password and getting locked out for a while.

It looks like it hasn't been updated in 2 years, but then again the iptables interface hasn't either, so no big deal.

Comment Re:America's Aging Nuclear Plants (Score 1) 964

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed below is from a graduate student studying mechanical engineering, in a Mechanical, Aerospace, & Nuclear department where many of the department seminars/colloquiums are on nuclear topics. As such it is biased towards scientific reasoning and facts that I have read in peer-reviewed journals or have seen in presentations by people with Ph.D.s on the topic, instead of media-led FUD.

While there are still significant issues to overcome when it comes to building new nuke plants, at this point the largest hurdle is waste and not reactor safety. Why? Because there have been 2 or more generations (depending on how you count them) of plant designs since the GE reactors at Fukushima Daiichi were built. Each with new safety features, and you'd better believe any future plant will learn from what has happened there over the past month. People seem to forget very soon the 3 Mile Island incident just outside Harrisburg PA, which was the worst nuclear disaster ever in the United States. How bad was it? Well, radiation levels around the reactor went up and and are still as high as ... the same as background levels anywhere else in the country, within a noise margin. That's because the plant was designed with safeguards, and as soon as something happened they went into effect. If you look for valid scientific sources about what is going on in Japan right now, it seems like the current knowledge is that the plants were either designed for a "worse case" scenario of a lower magnitude earthquake, or didn't anticipate the (inevitable) tsunami that happens when there's an earthquake on an island. What this means is that future plants will be built with an even larger safety margin and be more expensive, but that is the price to pay for clean, reliable energy.
There are already full plans for single fuel load reactors that don't ever require new rods and will run for their entire lifetime on an initial load, also reacting the fuel to a lower energy state than current designs, leaving the waste with a half-life an order of magnitude shorter than existing reactors. This also means lower temperatures in waste ponds (or no ponds at all until the plant is decommissioned). Unfortunately the time it takes to go from a proposal to a working new plant is on the order of 10 years, in the US at least. Maybe when all the current plants go down and aren't replaced, people will start to realize that they're just afraid of things they don't understand, and possibly learn to accept that "I don't understand it!" does not mean "Nobody understands it, and it's gonna kill me!"

On the flip side, it is also true that if the entire world were to switch to nuclear energy right now, there wouldn't be enough Uranium to go around, but it's still a darn sight better than the current state of petroleum based fuels. And many reports are saying that methane (natural gas) powered plants are a "sustainable" alternative, and current advances in filtration and sequestration make coal plants another short term option that are both more environmentally friendly than many existing gas fueled plants.

So for all the people who say "No nukes, NIMBY!", what DO you propose? If we don't build more of them, we're either going to harm the environment even more with coal/methane/petroleum plants, or run out of power. There isn't enough combined wind, solar, and hydro power available in the continental United States to power the current electricity usage. Period. Even if every square foot of land was covered in one or more of those collection methods. Either we build more nukes, build more smog plants, or drastically decrease usage, with the last option being the best but hilarious if you think it will happen without an even bigger disaster sparking it.

Comment Re:5%? -- not all 94 million people have a data pl (Score 1) 305

Ah, you're right, I seem to have glossed over the part about "5% of data users", it won't be nearly as many affected. But 5% is still a lot - with a percentage that large it's likely that you yourself or someone you know is one of them.

I'm on AT&T now, and I only get reception in one corner of my apartment if I stand next to the window. In the hallway outside my lab it drops connection, but in the lab itself it's fine (basement of an engineering building at a well known university). We can go on for a while here about the problems with other networks, but the point I was trying to make is that 5% is not a trivial number. This will affect a lot of people, and a number that high being called "extraordinary" is odd. When compared to other statistics like server uptime or even the uptime of your landline, "extraordinary" only comes into play in fractions of a percent.

Comment 5%? (Score 5, Insightful) 305

5% - It seems small at first, but when you realize that they have 94.1 million subscribers in the US, that's 4.7 million people they're throttling. If they identify that number of people as using "extraordinary amount[s] of data", I'd say that there's a more fundamental problem here.

And note the part where you get throttled for your entire next billing cycle too.

I'm not a Verizon subscriber, and I still use a "dumb" phone without a data plan, but this still seems that they need to change what they're offering up front instead of giving everything and then taking it back if you dare use it.

Comment Re:Interesting but... (Score 1) 480


The parcel was shipped a dozen times (we had neither the time nor the budget to make the hundreds of trips necessary for statistical significance), a modest experiment to see how the device performed and gather enough data to draw broad conclusions.

At least they're honest about it, I wish I saw that kind of disclaimer on more articles where it's needed even more.

Comment Re:Nothing new here (Score 1) 693

Apart from that - this is a university you are talking about. You are supposed to be an adult, who takes responsibility for what you learn, at least to the extent that you read and try to understand the day's subject before the lecture, so you can pick up the presumably few points you didn't quite understand. Lectures are only meant to be a minor part of your effort, so I think your rant is misplaced.

I'm not sure what curriculum this is for, but in my experience (engineering in the U.S.) it is not the case. I would have to think hard to identify a class where the majority of the material was to be learned out of a book before the lecture. All my classes in my major (undergrad and grad, two different universities) were 3-4 hours of lecture per week where all the new material was presented, and then reinforced by homework assignments and us reading the book [again?] outside class. I have one class now where the homework is on material that had not yet been covered in lecture, but is related and expands on it. I've also had multiple courses where there was no textbook at all and the professor just emailed out the lecture slides an hour before class for us to refer to later.

Regarding the grandparent post here, you must have bad profs. I've been a TA for the past 3 semesters and have witnessed a bit of cheating during tests (sophomore level class), but only to the extent of 2 or 3 people out of 150 looking at their neighbors' tests a few times. We even had a student come to the proctors under the pretense of asking for help just to say that the kid next to him was constantly looking at his paper and he was annoyed about it. The cheater still did badly on the test even with cheating so we didn't make an issue out of it though. It seems to me that cheating is more a function of the mindset of the students than what the professor is doing.

Of course in my major it's quite rare for there to not be an equation sheet provided or the students being allowed to bring their own crib sheet, so there's little motivation to cheat when it's not a multiple choice test, the method is worth more than the final answer, and they already have all the equations provided (the test is on how to use them correctly).

Comment Re:Steve Jobs has clout (Score 1) 681

I agree with you about seeing more netbooks and fewer macs, but while your reasoning may be true for the hipster crowd that doesn't actually use the laptop to any capacity, I have another possible explanation.

Speaking as a graduate student who still has a G4 Powerbook, I've loved it but honestly in the past 2 years I've been looking to replace it with something that can actually stream flash videos and show a block of animated gif smilies on a forum reply page without being choppy or using full CPU. Since I also have a windows desktop to do my real engineering work on, I want a smaller laptop that is easy to carry around and fits in my backpack. My first choice would be a 13" Macbook Pro, but Apple seems to have left that one useful model on the short bus and gave it a Core 2 Duo while the other pros in the line have decent current-generation chips. I've talked to other friends about it and I know at least 2 other people that would go out and buy a 13" within the next month if only it had a better processor.

So that leaves me with getting a netbook or a 'hackintosh', since if I can't have OS X on the laptop then I might as well have something tiny and cheap. (Maybe it's just me, but OS X is a lot more usable with only the keyboard than any other OS I've seen, one reasons I want to use an Apple laptop)

It may not be a big factor, but Apple is losing people because they can't compete in the small laptop market, or at least those of us who want a real keyboard, hard drive, CD drive, and real ports. I have no use for a SSD in a laptop, because I know how to not drop it while I'm using it, and the speed increase doesn't matter when you're just doing research and writing papers. As much as he may want it to be, the iPad is in no way a replacement for a small laptop for anyone who does any amount of text input like writing code or writing papers.

Comment Re:Agilent was HP (Score 1) 281

For what it's worth, the whole Electrical Engineering department at my university uses HP/Agilent scopes as part of the lab stations. The scopes are now all have the Agilent brand on them; though the voltage sources and other boxes have the same design, stack together well, look like they are meant to go together, even are part of the same daisychained cable to/from the computers, and about half still say HP.
Data Storage

Submission + - 27 Billion Gigabytes to be Archived by 2010 (

Lucas123 writes: "According to a Computerworld survey of IT managers, data storage projects are the No. 2 project priority for corporations in 2008, up from No. 4 in 2007. IT teams are looking into clustered architectures and centralized storage-area networks as one way to control capacity growth, shifting away from big-iron storage and custom applications. The reason for the data avalanche? Archive data. In the private sector alone electronic archives will take up 27,000 petabytes (27 billion gigabytes) by 2010. E-mail growth accounts for much of that figure."

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